Wonderful Women Winemakers

/ Updated on November 13, 2014

When I go to visit my friend Walter in Montevideo, he promises to take me to Artesana, a small ultra-premium estate winery located in the acclaimed Canelones winegrowing region of Uruguay. The signature varietal is Tannat. Brought from France in the 1870s, it produces rich, full-bodied wines with ripe fruit flavors and an exotic, spicy character. Tannat has been found to be the healthiest of red wines with 3-4 times moreantioxidants and an average resveratrol concentration of 4.2%.

Differing from its South American neighbors Argentina and Chile, Uruguay is a country of small-scale, family-owned wineries with a European winemaking sensibility and style. The coastal Atlantic climate is often compared to Bordeaux’, producing wines with well-balanced levels of alcohol and acidity. Uruguay is also considered one of the most green and environmentally sustainable countries in the world ranking third on the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) behind Finland and Norway in 2005.

Artesana’s female winemakers, Analía Lazaneo and Valentina Gatti, share the vision of handcrafting iconic Tannat wines that express the unique terroir of their estate vineyard.

Located on an 80-acre estate in Las Brujas, Artesana’s 20-acre vineyard is planted with Tannat, Merlot and Zinfandel, the first of its kind to be planted and produced in Uruguay. Sustainable, low-input, dry farming is practiced. Vines are meticulously tended and pruned to produce low yield, highly concentrated fruit and field-select, hand harvested. The wines are made in small lots, fermented separately, aged for 12 months in French and American oak, custom-blended by Analía and Valentina, and bottled without fining or filtration.

Truly a work of art, we chose to carry this elegant Tannat-Merlot blend for its complex and powerful character. It’s accessible upon release, but can easily cellar up to 10 years.  You will love the lush black and red fruit layered with allspice, nuanced tannins and toasty oak, converging in a round lingering finish. Pair it with a classic Gambas Al Ajillo (Chili-Garlic Shrimp) [pictured]. Truly ”Smooth & Structured” at $19.99. Nice work, ladies.

Catherine Hester

About the Author

co-owner of Teller Wines in Lewes, DE with her husband Kevin, is a world traveler and shares their adventures at various wineries while offering thoughts on why she and Kevin order particular wines for their customers. Learn more about the Hesters by clicking here. View all articles written by Catherine Hester

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